By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: Simple questions; complex answers

Simple questions; complex answers

It’s no surprise that amidst a still-raging pandemic surrounded by still-poison politics, questions are easy to spot, but answers are complex and elusive.

Oregonians join all Americans in asking why just 52 percent of distributed COVID-19 doses have been administered nationwide. (Oregon is slightly above average at 54 percent.)


Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

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For answers, we look to West Virginia, where 77 percent of distributed doses are in arms. It’s not a matter of money, since West Virginia has the fourth highest poverty rate among the 50 states. Maybe it stems from well-coordinated politics, as WV is one of 23 “trifecta” states with a Republican governor and GOP-controlled House and Senate.

Travel restrictions aside, Oregon leaders might consider a field trip to the Mountain State to get ideas on best practices for vaccinating our citizens.

Here’s another tough question some people are asking themselves: Am I still an Oregon Republican? Do I believe that the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol was a “false flag operation … in a frightening parallel to the 1933 burning of the German Reichstag.”

You can ponder the context of that quote by reading the entire Oregon GOP leadership resolution, printed in its entirety in this section. For historic perspective on that 1933 event, to quote Encyclopedia Britannica:

“Reichstag fire, burning of the Reichstag (parliament) building in Berlin, on the night of February 27, 1933, a key event in the establishment of the Nazi dictatorship and widely believed to have been contrived by the newly formed Nazi government itself to turn public opinion against its opponents and to assume emergency powers.”

How many, like state Sen. Brian Boquist, will consider the Independent Party of Oregon?

Some personal questions have public ramifications. This week, as prelude to reopening public schools, teachers throughout Oregon had to accept or decline COVID-19 vaccinations. Those results could raise challenging issues.

Already, an alarming number of American health care workers have indicated skepticism or outright rejection of COVID-19 vaccines. If a significant percent of American teachers reject vaccinations, then join children in mandatory return to classrooms, will parents and grandparents call for information about potential COVID spread to children and their families?

Public schools, with mandated gatherings of unvaccinated people, are the vanguard of a controversial question awaiting clear government directives: Can employers require vaccinations as a prerequisite to workplace admittance?

It seems that in 2021, when it comes to COVID-19 and politics, we all are contemplating straight-forward questions that will produce complex and provocative answers.


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